What is Environmental Education?
EDUCATION

What is Environmental Education?

K-12 Education Specialist Tracey Carter discusses the benefits of getting outdoors.

By Tracey Carter, M. Ed.

Part of how we create environmental stewards is by providing educators with what they need to teach environmental education in the classroom. 

We have partnered with local environmental and technology organizations to create a STEM Day for teachers to learn how nature, technology, engineering, media and more can be incorporated into lessons.

Alabama is one of the most biodiverse states in the country and home to the most diverse freshwater mussels, fish, snails, crayfish and turtles.

While Alabama is number one in freshwater species, the state is undergoing one of the largest modern extinctions in North America with the loss of over 40 species of mussels due to mud pollution and a lack of dam safety.

Environmental education focuses on the relationship between humans and the natural world. It examines how our actions as humans positively or negatively affect our world today and for future generations.

Toni Bruner, Executive Director of Legacy: Partners in Environmental Education believes that “we as humans have the tendency to create something that benefits us and that in turn often times has a negative impact on our environment.” 

Legacy’s mission is to create the next generation of environmental professionals through environmental literacy.  

Bruner encourages children to get out in nature because “we know that when children spend time outdoors in natural environments, their social and environmental skills improve, their communication skills improve. It promotes social interaction and better cognitive and imaginary play.”

Alabama Nature Center is an outdoor education facility offering hands-on outdoor learning for the general public.

The Director of School Programs at the Alabama Nature Center, Hollie Terry, said, “Kids don’t know what [animals] live in their yard. They know there are animals outside, [but] they don’t know which kind of animals live in Alabama. They don’t know what a huge level of biodiversity we have in our state.” 

How do educators get children to care about their environment? Terry suggests more outdoor time.

“[Educators] have to get kids comfortable outside before they are ever going to care about what lives outside: the plants, animals and the future [of the environment]. They have got to learn what is out there before they can learn to take care of it,” she said.

Come join us June 28 at Alabama Nature Center as we Take a Walk on the Wildlife Side to learn about Alabama’s natural world and how to take care of it.

Event Details

June 28, 2024 | 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Register Now

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